The Other End of the Year Post


Well, essentially 2012 was the year of The Copper Promise. As you might remember, it was around this time last year that I released the very first part onto the wild plains of Amazon; The Copper Promise: Ghosts of the Citadel was supposed to be the first in a series of short sword and sorcery novellas. They were supposed to be fast, written and released one after the other, and they were supposed to be short.


And then while I was writing part two, at the beginning of this year, several things happened at once to change that. Firstly, I realised that releasing each part after I’d written it just wasn’t going to work – maybe if it was a silly thing that didn’t really matter, I could get away with that, but TCP was growing more complicated, and if I wanted it to be good, I would need to be able to go back and polish. And that was the other major thing: The Copper Promise was growing. I loved the characters, who felt frighteningly real to me, and I loved the story, which had accidentally grown into some sort of weird epic/pulp hybrid.


So I threw out the idea of instant gratification and wrote parts 2, 3 and 4 in 2012. And then I redrafted, and edited, and then edited some more, and ended up with a book nearly twice as long as anything else I’d written (it’s still too long). And what happens to it now? Well, that is the question.


Thanks to some quirks of fate and a writing buddy who always seems to know what’s going on before I do (I’m looking at you, Adam) The Copper Promise ended up on the desk of the fabulous Juliet Mushens of the Agency Group, and in a sudden twist of awesomeness that I’m still getting my head around, I got an agent. Undoubtedly one of the highlights of my year was meeting Juliet for the first time (who is every bit as sharp and hilarious in real life) and hearing her quote bits of my book back at me. I mean, you wouldn’t think that would be weird, but it is. In a brilliant way. Next year proves to be very interesting indeed.


There were other things happening in 2012, of course. After ignoring it for a year I finally summoned up the courage to read and edit my Urban Fantasy book The Snake House, and much to my huge surprise I didn’t totally hate it. I also started work on a YA Fantasy book called London-Under-Sea (all weird religion, sea monsters and fishpunk) although that is on hold for the moment while I revise The Copper Promise. In non-book stuff Mass Effect 3 came out and proved that it is indeed the greatest video game series of all time, if not the greatest SF trilogy of all time, and I sobbed and cheered my way through it in an epically messy fashion. I finally watched Avatar: The Last Airbender and utterly fell in love with it.


Other, more random moments of 2012: I saw two sets of friends get married and danced at their weddings, I wore a corset for the first time and didn’t die, I oversaw new episodes of Dark Fiction Magazine, and I attended Bristolcon, which was brilliant. I got hugged by a wookie in Wales, saw my name in the acknowledgements of a real, live book (twice, technically) and partially helped nag my lovely boyfriend into taking up writing regularly again.


And that’s all I can really remember at the moment – no doubt I’ll have left something significant off the list, but all in all, I reckon I can chalk 2012 up as a goodun’. Wishing you all a fantastic new year full of excellence and joy!


NaNoWriMo Day 28: Fishpunk and Flu


I’m writing this now through the fog of flu (well, probably not flu – I felt a little too warm earlier today so I’ve decided it might be, because I do like to overreact like that) and the general exhaustion of the last days of nanowrimo. I’m very, very close to the end now, only a couple of thousand words away, but unfortunately I’m having to think around a wall of snot and grimness, so everything is suddenly really bloody difficult.

            Typical, isn’t it?

            This is annoying, but I’m not too concerned. I’ve a good chunk of London-Under-Sea out of my head and on to the page, and so far it’s been an… interesting experience. I’m not sure I’m getting everything right, and sometimes bending the book to my will seems nigh on impossible – I have these things that need to happen, but the characters keep wandering off and doing other things – but I sense that the bones of it are there, at least. Isaac in particular has turned out to have an interesting backstory I hadn’t even guessed at when I started, and as usual with nanowrimo the sheer break-neck pace of writing (some might even say desperation) has produced some very weird stuff.

            Which is good. Weirdness is what this book needs. We’re talking about a distant future London, flooded with an alien sea and full of fucked up sea monsters, peopled with humans who are no longer quite human. I jokingly referred to this book as fish-punk when I started writing it, but the more I get to know London-Under-Sea, the more I like the term.

            Who knows? Perhaps my feverish lurgy-brain will help! Bring on the lemsip-induced hallucinations and I might even get this thing finished.

Nanowrimo Day 16: Eyeball Blistering Agony



Day sixteen of Nanowrimo, and although I’m ahead of the projected wordcount I am feeling the midway miseries, big time. The opening third was great – fun to write, full of the setting up of mysteries for later and character sketches – but now we’re into the fat middle third, where stuff happens. Only I’m not sure what stuff. Not really.

            I have notes on possible ideas, but when I come to write them none of it feels like it’s quite there. More troublingly, Isaac seems to be very different to the character I initially imagined, and this makes the dynamic of the group a little difficult to juggle – I had thought he was troubled/brooding/angry/shouty, but he actually seems to be troubled/brooding/introspective/reserved, which makes for an entirely different set of interactions.

            So, much griping and misery from the writer. What happened, I ask, to the fine and sexy outline I had? And there is a suspiciously low body-count for one of my books. The baddie is great, and things are connecting in those small, magical ways that random things do when you’re writing a book, but there’s no doubt it’s a struggle at the moment.

            Still, this is all fairly standard for the third week of Nanowrimo, and I’ve not been very well for the last few days either, which hasn’t helped. It’s time, I think, to scribble some brainstormy notes and give my typing fingers the night off – I’ve got a full week of nothing but writing ahead!


Holy Link Post, Batman!

Busy week, no sleep, too much sugar… my brain isn’t sensible enough to give you a big fat blog post today, but I do have a series of links I should wave about, and one of them does include a big fat blog post:


I have been guest blogging over at Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review, where I talk in a meandering sort of way about fantasy maps and my own journey as a fantasy reader.


The Dark Fiction Magazine Halloween issue is now complete, with excellent stories from Lou Morgan, Emma Newman, Adrian Faulkner and Joshua Malbin – all with a watery theme. I strongly recommend giving your ears this spooky and slightly damp treat.


The cover for Adam Christopher’s The Age Atomic has been revealed and it’s a corker.


Nanowrimo continues on its coffee-sodden way; I’ve popped up a rough synopsis for London-Under-Sea if you’re curious.


And that’s it! Hopefully next week I will have a more coherent set of thoughts for you, but for now it’s back to the word count.

NaNoWriMo Day 4: Weekend Writing


Today’s writing mascot is Duncan. I imagine his writing advice would be something like: “In war, victory. In peace, vigilance. In November, too much caffeine and fingerless gloves.”

Historically I’m not very good at writing at the weekend. I have quite a strict writing routine during the week so my brain tends to flop into SUPER RELAX MODE on a Saturday and it’s a minor miracle if I’m out of bed before midday. Although I always have good intentions of getting some words down, by the time I’m dressed and awake, it’s time to eat dinner and slip into a food-induced coma.

This weekend though I have behaved myself. I’m about 2,000 words ahead of where I need to be for Nanowrimo, and London-Under-Sea is moving along at the pace I want it to. We’ve witnessed Esther’s troubling beginnings, had a quick swim around the submerged city, and met Isaac, who is smouldering in an angsty and brooding fashion. At the moment I’m feeling quite happy with where it’s going, and looking forward to seeing where this book wants to take me.

 How about you? I’d love to hear some Nanowrimo progress reports in the comments!

NaNoWriMo Day 1: Mascots and Pigs


The first day of Nanowrimo is under my belt, along with half a packet of Percy Pigs and too much pasta, and I have to say it’s gone quite well.

            That’s not tremendously surprising, as the first day is always the easiest. Now, the third week, that’s a bitch, when you’re tired and you’ve forgotten what this was supposed to be about and you’ve bought so many packets of Percy Pigs that the people in M&S are starting to give you slightly fearful looks… but all that is a way off yet.

            I’ve had the opening scenes of London-Under-Sea in my head for a few months now, and it feels good to get them out onto the screen. With the characters walking and talking and generally getting into trouble they’re starting to fill out, to become real people, and the little details of the world are dropping into place. I didn’t know before I started writing this morning, for example, that Mr Tallow was actually quite liked by the children, or that the object Esther was remembering is a golden plate. I love finding this stuff out; it’s the joy of a first draft.

            I’m giving my eyeballs a rest now and ruminating on what might crop up on day two. I doubt I’ll be blogging every day, but I might just throw up the occasional update, more for my own reference than anything else.


Oh, and Grumpy Bear is today’s writing mascot. I should point out that the word next to him is “Sea”, and not… the other word.